Tobbell, Jane (2005) Including myself out: children talking about educational and social practices in UK primary and secondary school. In: Community, Work and Family Conference, 16th - 18th March 2005, Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

Every organisation is defined by the multiplicity of practices, both trivial and important, that seek to shape the behaviour of the participants in that community. In this research children from a range of UK schools were interviewed and observed and this paper discusses their views about the practices in their schools. The data suggest that they do not simply sit back and accept the systems and procedures devised by schools and governments, rather they actively engage with those practices and assess them in terms of their own experience and potential utility. I use the learning as participation literature to understand the children’s experiences and behaviour and use the children’s experiences and behaviour to inform the learning as participation literature which tends to give a somewhat benign report of participation. This data suggest that children make active choices about their participation in school communities and these choices are driven by their reactions to the school practices which may not be responsive to diverse needs and may result in children self-marginalising. Participation in the school community can be viewed as a personal and a political decision. Finally, the practices and children’s reports are considered in terms of identifying strategies which would enable participation by all in school communities which can be understood as power to change the community as well as being changed by it.